Buffer stocks of medicines and oxygen had been prepared and 48,000 ventilators had been distributed to the states, the minister said
New Delhi: Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that India was “fully prepared” to fight the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and that the country’s vaccine production capacity, which was now 31 crore doses per month, would be ramped up to 45 crore doses in the next two months. He added that buffer stocks of medicines and oxygen had been prepared to mitigate any crisis and 48,000 ventilators had been distributed to the states.
The health minister said more than half of the country’s population had now been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. He was speaking at the end of the short duration discussion on the Covid-19 situation in the country. The discussion couldn’t take place as Opposition members demanded that the suspension of the 12 Opposition MPs be revoked.
Dr Mandaviya told the House: “As of now, India has 161 Omicron cases... We are monitoring the situation daily with experts. With our experience during the first and second waves, to ensure that we don’t face problems if the variant spreads, we have arranged a buffer stock of medicines.”
He further added: “Due to the efforts of our health workers, 88 per cent of the first dose and 58 per cent of the second dose have been taken in the country.” He said states and Union territories have sufficient doses of vaccine available with them. “Today all the states and UTs have adequate quantities of vaccines: 17 crore doses are available with them.”
On the new Omicron variant, he said: “To protect against Omicron, we have issued SOPs (standard operating procedures) for travellers coming from abroad. I myself also interacted with the states, we are constantly assessing this variant with the expert team.”
The Upper House was adjourned in the morning till lunch within four minutes. The Opposition has been demanding that the suspensions be revoked, but the treasury benches are of the view that there can be no revocation till the members apologise, and so the stalemate continues.